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UK: Diageo "reticent" over Twitter use for marketing

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Diageo is "reticent" over fully embracing Twitter as a marketing tool until the social media site has introduced age-gating, it revealed today (May 14). 

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Andy Fennell, Diageo's chief marketing officer, told reporters at a briefing in London that the company has been “reticent” to use Twitter because of the ability of people under legal drinking age to view material. But, he added: “It's a relevant platform for the company as we want to be where consumers are.” 

Fennell revealed he had met with Twitter representatives in recent weeks about the issue but did not elaborate on the result of those talks.

Diageo currently has “community managers” who are monitoring Twitter and Facebook, Fennell said. A number of its key brands, such as Guinness and Smirnoff, have Twitter feeds, but stress users must be over legal drinking age. 

The company's recent experience of Twitter has not been a happy one. It was targeted by users last week after an employee is alleged to have intervened to prevent Scottish craft brewer, BrewDog, from winning an industry award. News of the episode prompted a huge backlash on the social media site. 

Meanwhile, Fennell said the company would continue its marketing focus on the over-50s, as it is a group that has been “historically ignored” by marketeers.  

“Over-50s are discerning and experimental and they have the disposable income to treat themselves,” he said. The company pointed to the use of stars such as George Clooney and Denzel Washington in advertising campaigns as ways it is targeting this group.

Marketing to women has also been stepped up with the use of Christina Hendricks in a Johnnie Walker campaign. “We are changing our media targets as we think there are material opportunities for us,” said Fennell. This also includes a focus on the US's "multicultural population", the company said.   

The company currently spends 20% of its GBP1.7bn (US$2.74bn) global marketing budget on social media, with the rest on traditional media, according to Fennell. 


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